Chapter Twenty One - Scoring a job on an ABC/Netflix series
A couple of weeks ago, I posted about working on the new Netflix/ABC series, Pine Gap, shot in Alice Springs.
I had a barrage of messages from friends and old colleagues asking how I scored the job and what exactly was I doing.
Instead of going into detail, I thought I’d answer everyone’s questions with a ‘behind the scenes’ exclusive of how it all happened.
After a fire rendered my caravan unliveable I had to find alternate accommodation. As an interim solution I moved into my friends place around the corner in Eastside (the Bondi of Alice Springs).
After moving my things in the morning, I wanted to do something nice in the afternoon, so a friend suggested we go to the Hilton for a swim and drinks by the pool.
As usual, we pranced in like we owned the place, pulled up two loungers, picked up fresh white towels by the pool bar and settled in.
In the lounger next to me, sat an older woman with lovely white hair reading, The Monthly.
We started talking, I can’t remember how it happened, but it was very natural and she was most enjoyable to chat to.
We talked about everything from our careers to our families. After about an hour or so, I excused myself for a swim. I didn’t want to intrude on her private time and thought she might like a break from me.
Instead, she followed me into the water and we continued chatting. She was so open and honest, I was really enjoying her company.
We briefly spoke about why she was in Alice Springs and she told me she was there filming a ABC/Netflix series.
The project was confidential so she couldn’t give much away. I wasn’t sure what her role was.
After our refreshing swim, tummies lined with cocktails, and numbers exchanged we left relaxed and rejuvinated and headed for home.
The next day, I was doing a shop at Woolies and got a text from Ally, the lovely woman from by the pool.
If was short and sweet; ‘Leah, do you want a job, we need you!’
I gleefully accepted not knowing what I would be getting myself into.
It turns out she was the Line Producer.
I had studied Media Communications at UNSW, so had worked on many small productions, but this felt like a lifetime ago.
The next day I arrived on set, immediately put to work as (one of the many) Assistant Directors (AD), working with the extras on and off screen. I had been thrown into the middle of a production, directing people like a lolly pop woman, telling folks when to come and go.
My climb up the filmic ladder was happening at lightning speed. One day AD-ing the next day being assigned to the Locations team.
Without consultation, overnight I had become the Locations Assistant.
My sole responsibility was to look after the locations of each place in Alice Springs we shot in.
Once again without warning, I was given another promotion. Unfortunately, my boss put her back out and I became the key Locations person.
The Director and First AD (Assistant Director) were needing information from me about our locations.
I surprised myself, stepping up to the role and giving them everything they needed. It came very naturally to me.
The experience was a total eye opener, I learnt so many things and felt privileged to have worked on the first thriller drama series to appear on Netflix in Australia.
I had a great time, met inspiring people and gained amazing experience.
I really am very grateful for what the Outback continues to give me.
I’ve realised, one has to leave the comfort of ‘home’ to become open to the elements and opportunities life presents you.
I’ve only been pleasantly surprised.